'Where did the year go?'
'How is it December already?'
This year, more than most I am shocked at how we are already less than two weeks away from Christmas.
Ok - I might have just had a slight panic attack as I looked at my calendar to check exactly how far away we were!
Less than two weeks.
I have not bought ONE present.
I haven't even put up the tree.
Perhaps I need to get onto it all.
On the plus side.....
My kids have made THE most beautiful wreath ever!
Asking for gorgeous things like:
- a magnifying glass
- a packet of water bombs
- new clothes
- Roast Pork and crackling for dinner.
Fancy asking Santa for that.
It just makes me smile.
I think I am going to re-invent the Christmas tree this year seeing as hubs has gone away O/S for work and won't be back for a week and I can't reach the Christmas tree in the shed on account of being super dooper short and not so good at climbing ladders.
I don't really like the idea of a broken back for Christmas.
I got some really lovely Washi tapes the other day.
Maybe I can do something with that?
What about you?
Are you super organised at this time of year or do you like to leave it to a last minute panic like me?
GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S HOME MADE EGG PASTA:
I had some people ask how to make pasta at home.
I think comparing homemade fresh pasta and the packet stuff is a bit like comparing instant coffee to real coffee.
The texture and taste of fresh pasta is SUBLIME.
I am only putting the pasta dough recipe here. You can add whatever sauce you like!
Lately we have been making good ol' Aglio e Olio (go here for that recipe) or gorgeous Summery pesto variations - some that the kids have invented (the picture below is of a gorgeous recipe we made from the fab Whole Larder Love's great online cooking series) & who can beat just fresh tomatoes with a little EVOO & fresh basil in Summer. YUM. Fresh ingredients at their best.
In most family households Spaghetti Bolognese would be the dish you could serve to any child with an 'it's my favourite' response.
Not so much in our house.
I have one child out of my five- my most adventurous eater in fact- who has never liked it. Until I started serving it with fresh homemade pasta. He loves it now.
We have been making fresh pasta more and more often over using the packet stuff.
At first it will take a while but as you practice I hope you too see the benefits of making a little extra effort. It takes a little longer to make but it only takes a couple of minutes to cook! And this is a FAB ting to do with you kids. I promise you will make just as much mess as them anyway so let them have a go!
At my place there is a battle to help make it. From the goopy dough mixing to the rolling.
Years ago Pasta machines were expensive and hard to find. Now they are relatively cheap & easy to find at any good cookware store- or online.
The key is to use LOADS of flour for dusting and to let the dough rest for an hour BEFORE you roll it through the machine.
This allows the gluten in the flour to settle and relax. It will make it MUCH easier.
It is also important to use good strong flour. Buy 00 flour. It is now easy to get hold of- even some supermarkets carry it.
Following the rule of 100g pasta per person this recipe is for 4.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 400g 00 flour
- 4 organic eggs
- a little EVOO-extra virgin olive oil ( about a tablespoon)
You could add ingredients to a food processor to amalgamate if you like to help kick start everything or go the old fashioned method of:
Place flour on the bench or table in a large circle.
Make a well in the middle and crack the eggs into the centre.
Using one hand swirl your fingers around so you catch more and more flour until all the
ingredients are well mixed.
Now knead the dough well with a pushing & rolling motion until the dough feels quite elastic.
This takes about 10 minutes.
Now roll into a large ball and wrap in glad wrap and place in fridge to rest for an hour.
Remove from fridge and place on a VERY well floured bench.
You should be able to feel immediately how much softer the dough is. It should be quite pliable now.
I roll mine into a sausage shape and cut out the portions. As we are making enough for four, the easiest way to do this is to cut it in half and then half again to get equal amounts.
With your pasta machine secured to the table or bench you need to start at the biggest setting and let your pasta pass through.
Now fold it in half and pass it through the same setting. (My 3yo is the Master of this job- noone else stands a chance of getting to roll the dough!)
Repeat this step about 4-5 times.
This helps strengthen the pasta.
Now you are ready to pass it through the machine at smaller settings until you get to desired thickness.
On my machine it goes from 1-9 but I only ever roll it to 8.
That makes it quite fine. If it were finer than that it would be difficult to keep intact.
Don't be afraid to flour again and again.
Flour the machine, flour the pasta, flour the bench, flour, flour, flour!
And especially as you have finished batches you need to flour them so they don't stick together as they are sitting on the bench.
The flour will come off in cooking but if you are not liberal it will get stuck in the machine and make it very difficult to manage.
Most machines will have the option to make spaghetti or tagliatelli- so you choose what shape you would like.
My kids like Papardelle which is the very thick long strands. I love it too.
The pictures below are of Papardelle.
To do that you just roll out pasta to desired thickness and then cut free hand with a knife.
Once you have rolled out all your pasta you need to get a LARGE pot onto the boil with a generous pinch of salt.
The size of the pot is important here as you want your pasta to be able to roll around in the pot freely.
It also means the temperature can rise again quickly to a rolling boil.
Once the water is at a rolling boil add your pasta and cook for about two minutes- taste a little and check.
As I have said before I add my pasta to the pan that has the sauce so that the last bit of cooking time is in the sauce. It allows the sauce to incorporate into the pasta itself making for a much more delicious result!
If you have made more than you need- just sit the rolled out spaghetti over a (clean) broom handle and let it dry overnight. Now you have your very own dried pasta!
|Tagliatelle with Pesto, Roast Cherry tomatoes & Fior de latte|